Vastavam web: The Centre has undertaken a special project to connect all the border posts along the Sino-India frontier with roads, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said today as he reviewed the operational preparedness of a forward ITBP unit here.Singh ringed in the new year with the troops of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) at this border post located at a height of 11,614 feet in Uttarakhand, where the mercury dropped to minus 20 degrees Celsius today.The home minister also instructed the ITBP personnel, in the presence of the force’s Director General (DG), R K Pachnanda, to find out ways to rotate the troops at such high-altitude posts in less than three months’ time.
Currently, the troops are rotated every three months.This would enhance the operational efficiency of the personnel and also reduce the instances of mountain-related sickness among them, he said.”I have come here to see the conditions in which the ITBP jawans are guarding the Sino-India border,” the minister said.Wishing the personnel of the border guarding force a happy new year, Singh talked about his idea of reducing the current three months’ time of rotating the troops at such arduous and tough posts.
“I will urge the ITBP to find ways and see how can we reduce the time period of deployment of troops, from three months to the least possible, as a lot of time is also spent on commuting to and from such hard areas,” he said.He added that the Centre had recently decided that the light-weight, special winter clothing, which was earlier provided to the troops posted at an altitude of above 14,000 feet, would now also be provided to the jawans posted at a height of over 9,000 feet.Snow scooters, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and mountaineering equipment were also being provided to the jawans, Singh said.Stating that there were some “perceptional differences” with China regarding the Sino-India border, he said, “There had been some face-offs with China, but no such incident had occurred in the recent past.”
India had never been expansionist, Singh said, adding that the country simply wanted to remain secure like any other country in the world.”China is a growing economy and India is also the fastest-growing economy in the world. So, it is obvious that that these two countries would not want a tussle between them,” he said.The ITBP was raised in the aftermath of the Chinese aggression of 1962 and is tasked with guarding the 3,488-km- long Sino-India border.On the appointment of an interlocutor (special representative) on Jammu and Kashmir and whether the Hurriyat Conference would take part in the talks convened by him, Singh said the interlocutor was given a free hand and that he was doing a good job.